Loughgiel Shamrocks star Liam Watson receives AIB Award

WITH less than two weeks to go before the winners of the AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Club Championship are decided, the outstanding performers of the 2010 provincial campaign were recognised last week at the presentation of the annual AIB Provincial Player Awards.

The awards were presented on Monday 7 March, in the Minerva Suite, RDS, by GAA President, Christy Cooney, and Billy Finn of AIB Bank.

Present to pick up his Ulster Hurling award was Loughgiel Shamrock’s Liam Watson. He scored a total of 1-13 against Ballygalget and Lavey as Loughgiel won the Ulster title for the first time since 1989.

It completed an excellent season for Watson whose craft and opportunism were crucial in Loughgiel’s march to county and provincial glory.

His ability to be in the right place at the right time, combined with his finishing expertise, makes him one of the top forwards in the game.

First honoured back in 1999, Crossmaglen’s Oisin McConville picked up an historic 5th AIB Provincial Player Award. McConville was joined by the six other players across both codes, all of whom are first time winners.

The other Football awards went to Frankie Dolan, of first time AIB All-Ireland Club finalists St. Brigid’s and Nemo Ranger’s David Niblock, who received the Munster Football award for his role in securing a 15th AIB Munster Provincial title for his club.

The other AIB Provincial Hurling Awards went to Mark Bergin of O’Loughlin Gaels and De La Salle’s Kevin Moran.

Two Coaching and Games Development Awards were presented to Bray Emmett’s GAA Club man Jack Napier and to Philip Kerr of O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club, Magherafelt.

In making the presentation, GAA President Christy Cooney noted the vital role both men have played in the development of the GAA in their respective clubs and counties.

Speaking at the awards, Billy Finn, General Manager, AIB Bank said: “Each of the award winners here today knows that they are receiving the honour not just for themselves, but for their teammates, and their club.

“These awards allow us to acknowledge the outstanding level of commitment and professionalism shown by club GAA players, coaches and managers throughout the country and certainly, this dedication to the sport is epitomized by today’s award-winners.”

GAA President Christy Cooney said: “The standard of the AIB GAA club championships continues to impress year on year and that is reflected in the calibre of our award winners. The winners of today’s awards have shown exceptional skill, and consistency and are fully deserving of the honour they receive today.

“I’m also delighted to see Jack Napier and Philip Kerr honoured for their lifelong dedication to the game.

“Their selfless commitment to their club is the strongest foundation possible for a sporting organisation and there is no greater testament to that than the GAA.”

The winners are selected by GAA media around the country, based on player’s performances in the 2010 AIB GAA Provincial Club Championships. In addition to picking up Provincial Player Awards, Frankie Dolan (St.Brigids) and Mark Bergin (O’Loughlin Gaels) were also selected by GAA fans (voting through the AIB Club is Family facebook page) as the AIB People’s Choice Award winners for 2010.